Smithsonian Channel // 2008 // 105 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // February 6th, 2010
Feed your brain!
Once you get past all the complex principles, mathematics, and other technical stuff, science is just plain fun. With every scientific principle, there are cool ways to demonstrate how they apply in our everyday lives that make the concepts more engaging and enticing for younger students. Presumably with the science and knowledge of the Smithsonian Institution behind it, and guided by three suitable hip and peppy hosts-Paula, Andrew, and Pemma, the Smithsonian Channel's series SciQ takes younger viewers behind the science with practical examples of science at work.
In each episode, the hosts accept challenges to see who can learn the most new science facts and information from experts in their respective fields. At the end of every episode, the hosts put their news skills into action, making it fun while they reinforce the facts and information viewers learned while they watched. SciQ: Volume 1 includes four 26-minute episodes from the series, in seemingly random order:
* "CSI" (episode five): The tiniest clues can give the bad guys away, and Crime Scene Investigators are the scientific experts with the skills and training it takes to compile the evidence. Working their ways through a mock crime scene, Andrew and Paula learn crime fighting skills from the experts first hand.
* "Spies" (episode 10): Entering the world of espionage, viewers learn how spy cameras, infrared imaging, lie detectors, CT scans, and other tools can help experts see things that may be outside limited human perception.
* "Movie Magic" (episode 4): Special effects mix science and illusion to create some dramatic and exciting results. This episode shows how make-up and prosthetics effects, Foley recording, artificial weather, pyrotechnics, and stunt work contribute to many movies.
* "Sound" (episode 2): Where would we be without our sense of sound to help us perceive and enjoy the world around us? This episode explores the parts of the ear, sound waves, pitch, notes, and other elements that contribute to how we perceive sound. The SciQ team learns all about sound from a diverse group of experts that includes Blue Man Group, inventors, and even a vocal coach.
The series has a pretty cool high-energy opening credit sequence that is clearly designed to hook young viewers. The show can be a bit corny at times, but since I'm not the target audience and my own budding 7- and 10-year-old scientists ate it up, SciQ is likely to be a winner with most young students. The hosts keep the energy and enthusiasm constant through every episode, and just the right amount of scientific principle and content help to make SciQ a suitable educational tool as well.
SciQ: Volume 1 comes to DVD with a quality A/V presentation that matches the engaging content quite nicely. Colors are vivid, the picture is clear and sharp at all times, and the audio mix combines narration, music, and other elements into an energetic sonic presentation that will easily grab and hold the ears of younger viewers.
No extra features or additional content of any kind are included with this release, aside from promotional trailers for 13 other Smithsonian titles.
SciQ: Volume 1 delivers short and sweet lessons about everyday
scientific principles with a unique format and style that makes learning fun.
Review content copyright © 2010 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Smithsonian Channel
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated